Robert Peston, economics editor

Robert Peston Economics editor

Welcome to Peston's Picks - for my latest thoughts on the big economic events around the world making us richer or poorer

Half a cheer for depression's end

Sunrise in the City of London

On Friday we will have - depending on how you look at it - either the most symbolically important or the most pointless economic event of recent times.

Namely, official confirmation that the depression caused by the mother of all banking and financial crises is finally over. UK output or GDP has finally exceeded its pre-recession peak (the technical definition of a depression is the period during which GDP remains below that peak).

On the official government stats, GDP fell by 7.2% between its peak in the first quarter of 2008 and its trough in the second quarter of 2009.

Since then recovery has been unusually - some would say lamentably - slow, and national output in the first three months of this year was still 0.6% below that peak.

But that recovery has been picking up considerable momentum over the past year. The UK is now the fastest growing economy of all the world's rich ones.

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Why Coe is set to win BBC race

Lord Coe
Lord Coe led London's Olympics bid and chaired the organising committee for the games

Here are a couple of mildly interesting tidbits about my own shop, the BBC.

First (and there is nothing terribly revelatory about this) Lord Coe is a virtual shoo-in to be Lord Patten's successor as chairman of the BBC Trust.

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Modi's mountain to climb

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (centre)

On the eve of the Modi government's first budget, India is in the grip of infectious optimism.

Admittedly, doing the kind of job I do, I have been exposed to a limited cross-section of Indian society.

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How Gandhi became George Osborne's hero

Mahatma Gandhi

That Mahatma Gandhi will be commemorated with a statue in Parliament Square is perhaps extraordinary - given that he was the leader of the nationalist movement against British rule in India.

But the whole thrust of British diplomatic relations these days with India is to build bridges with the world's second most populous country - in large part because of the important opportunities that may become available for British businesses.

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How chancellor woos India

Hague and Osborne

I am currently running on two hours sleep and a mild vegetable curry I had for breakfast in my hotel.

So I feel considerably less full of vroom than the tractors and cars made by the Mumbai plant of the Mahindra Group, where I have been traipsing behind the chancellor as he tours the factory floor, in the atmospheric conditions of a Turkish bath.

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Scotland, for richer or poorer?

Scottish Saltire flag caries a "Yes" for Independence at the Bannockburn Live event

Is there a clear economic case for Scotland either to constitute itself as an independent nation or remain part of the UK?

That is what I have been trying find out, for a documentary you can see on Monday, 7 July on BBC2 at 9pm ("Scotland: for Richer or Poorer)

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Why has Google cast me into oblivion?

google sign

This morning the BBC received the following notification from Google:

Notice of removal from Google Search: we regret to inform you that we are no longer able to show the following pages from your website in response to certain searches on European versions of Google:

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The next financial crisis?


How worried should we be by the massive financial power of huge managers of assets such as BlackRock and Pimco - with their trillions of dollars of our money under their management?

The central bankers' central bank, the Bank of International Settlements, resonantly describes them in its latest annual report as "like an elephant in a paddling pool" - in the sense that they are enormous compared with many of the economies in which they put their (our) cash, such that when they decide to invest or disinvest, they "can amplify dislocations".

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Bank sees no dangerous bubble now

So apparently a rise in London house prices of circa 20% per annum is not a serious bubble, according to the Bank of England.

It has announced modest constraints on banks' ability to make riskier loans. But it is highly unlikely that these will have any significant impact on the health of the housing market in any part of the UK, including the booming markets in London and the South East.

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About Robert

Robert has won numerous awards for his journalism, including Journalist of the Year, Specialist Journalist of the Year and Scoop of the Year (twice) from the Royal Television Society, Performer of the Year from the Broadcasting Press Guild, and Broadcaster of the Year and Journalist of the Year from the Wincott Foundation.

Prior to joining the BBC, he was political editor and financial editor of the Financial Times, City Editor of the Sunday Telegraph and a columnist for the New Statesman and Sunday Times.

He broadcast and published a series of influential reports about the causes and consequences of the global financial crisis.

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